Today’s Current Affairs January 1

January 1, 2020

Front page

FM unveils Rs.102 lakh crore Infra spending plan

The funds will be pooled through joint contribution from Center, States, and the private sector in ratio of 39:39:22. The spending plan will stretch up to 2024-25. This is expected to boost the sluggish economy.

Core sector output shrinks 1.5% in November

The output of coal, crude oil, natural gas, steel, and electricity declined. Refinery and fertilizer sector showed an upswing, though. The core sector had expanded by 3.3% in 2018.

Passenger fares to go up 4 paise per km: Railways income to get a boost

The Ministry of Railways has increased the fares for passengers with effect from January 1. The measure will go some way to boost the revenue of the cash-strapped railways.

North Korea ends self-imposed moratorium on nuclear arms testing

North Korea’s President Kim has said that his country’s patience with the Americans is running thin, and he is ordering re-start of nuke and Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) testing.

Australia continues to reel under spiraling fire hazard

Thousands of homes have been reduced to ashes in Australia as a result of the un-checked spread of fire. Hundreds and thousands of people now spend their time in make-shift tents that dot the beaches in Victoria.

Good words and phrases sed .. Reel under, Makeshift, Dot as verb

National

Indore and Jamshedpur cleanest cities in India – Swach 2020 table

Among the cities of population between one and ten lakh, Indore and Jamshedpur top the list. Among the major cities, Kolkata finds itself in the lowest position.

Chandrayan 3 launch this year

Union Minister Jitendra Singh has stated that Chandrayan 3 launch will be undertaken this year.

One fifth of the country’s forests prone to fire

Forest Survey of India (FSI) report shows that about 21.4% of the country’s forests are under the threat of fire.

Kerala CM strongly opposes center’s attitude towards minorities

Kerala CM derides moves to carry out ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the country through coercive legislation and adopting a cavalier attitude towards the minorities.  

Good words used .. Deride, Cavalier, Coercive

Tirumala visitors will get a free ‘Laddu’ from now on

The shrine’s administration has decided to offer one free laddu to ech of the pilgrims from now on.

Farmers to wear black shirts in PM’s event

The Karnataka Rajya Raita Sangha (KRRS) has sought permission from Chief Minster Yediurappa to attend the Prime Minister’s January 2 rally wearing black shirts as a mark of protest.

Karnataka adds 1025 sq. kilometers of forest in one year

Among the states that have made great strides in aforestation, Karnataka has won the distinction of recording one of the highest gains in adding green cover.

Assam stir to give birth to new party

Disenchanted with the attitude of the BJP and other mainstream political parties, The All Assam Student Union (AASU) has decided to float a new outfit to accentuate its opposition to the CAA.

Good words used .. Accentuate, Disenchanted

Prahlad Patel to launch ‘Visit Nepal 2020’

The Minister of State of Tourism, Prahlad Patel, will join an event to promote tourism in the three countries – India, Nepal and China. Another 40 nations are to participate in the meeting.

Bangladesh switches off mobile telephony in border areas

Citing security concerns, Bangladesh has switched off mobile networks in areas bordering India.

China happy with India’s decision to include Huawei in 5G free test trial

China has welcomed India’s decision to give Huawei a chance to enter India for its 5G field trial despite the strong objection from the United States.

Security beefed up ahead of Bhima Koregaon anniversary

Lakhs of devotees, Ambedkeraites, neo-Buddhists, activist organizations, and students are expected to attend the Bhima Korgaon anniversary celebrations that saw violence erupting in the area in the last few occasions. Police have made elaborate arrangements to preempt any such unrest this year.

Why Bhima Koregaon fuels controversy? .. On January 1, 1818, a battle took place between the small force of East India Company’s soldiers and that of the Peshwa’s vastly larger army of about 22,000 men. The East India Company’s contingent was supported by the local Mahars, who were classified as ‘untouchable’ in the caste hierarchy then. They inflicted a humiliating defeat on the much-vaunted and vastly larger Peshawa side.  The Maratha king had to flee. It was deeply humiliating for the valiant Marathas. Since then, the Mahars have been holding congregations in the Koregaon village to mark their remarkable victory. For the brave and proud Marathas, it was a humiliating defeat that they find hard to come to terms with even today. The British built an obelisk in the place of the battle. The Mahars treat this small monument with great pride and reverence. Every year on January 1, the Mahar jubilation around the obelisk fuels intense backlash from the Marathas.

SMS services restored in J&K

After nearly 150 days of blockage, SMS services have been restored in the valley bringing much relief to the people there. People desperately hope that internet services will be soon restored.

NPR trial forms ready for test-use

The form has some new questions that people feel are too intrusive to answer. This apprehension has triggered pervasive resentment against the government.

Good words used .. Intrusive, Pervasive

International

U.S. embassy in Baghdad attacked by pro-Iran Shia militia

Confusion in Iraqi streets became compounded when some pro-Iranian Iraqi groups broke security cordons one after another till they re ached the outer walls of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. It remains unclear how these people, some wearing military fatigues, could go past the heavily-defended barricades and checkpoints to reach so close to the embassy.

The U.S. has expressed its displeasure over the matter and said that the blame will have to be shared by Iran too.

Taiwan parliament passes bill to curtail Beijing’s influence

A controversial bill was passed by the Taiwan’s parliament to limit Chinese influence over the island nation. President Tsi Ing-wen’s party had the bill passed despite resistance from the opposition KMT party. The bill is bound to raise heckles in Beijing which regards Taiwan as a renegade province.

Good words and phrases used .. Raise heckles, Renegade

China and the U.S. to sign ‘Phase One’ trade deal on Jan 15

After long and tortuous negotiations, China and the U.S. have agreed to sign a trade deal that could be the precursor of more substantive deal later.  President Trump calls it the ‘Phase one’ deal.

Good words used .. Tortuous, Precursor

Finance

Current account deficit narrows to 0.9% deficit

The September quarter figures point to a perceptible drop in the Current Account Deficit (CAD). However, the contraction is not due to increase in exports, but due to fall in imports. The fall was more due to a sick economy working in low gear and importing less. This is a sign of incipient sickness. The CAD stands at 6.3 billion USD now.

Fiscal deficit soars to reach 115% of the targeted level in November

Falling GST collection, and spiraling non-plan expenditure of the government have resulted in the fiscal deficit position ballooning to an alarming 115% of the annual target by November. This will force the government to fast-track measures to mop up revenue from non-conventional sources.

Telecom ministry to approach Finance Ministry to grant moratorium and other reliefs

The telecom industry is passing through very hard times. The two major telcos – Airtel and Vodafone-Idea have un-sustainable debts which, if not resolved early, will force the companies to shut down. The Telecom Ministry will soon approach the Finance Ministry for grant of suitable relief for the Telcos.

IL&FS will hope to reduce a major chunk of its debts by July

Mr. Uday Kotak, the government-appointed Chairman of the company, has expressed confidence that substantial part of the company’s huge debt burden of Rs.92,000 crores will be paid back to lenders by July.

Vedanta weighing the option to bid for BPCL

Vedanta is also planning to invest 1.1 billion USD in its oil fields in Rajasthan. The government may add Vedanta to the list of bidders for BPCL.

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